Saturday, August 28, 2010

Poached Apples With Orange Segments, Non-Dairy Strawberry Smoothie, Mango Yoghurt Smoothie, Croissants

Chef's Spread

We spent the last 2 days making croissant dough from scratch. Similar to puff pastry, we kneaded, rolled, laminated, folded over and laminated again and again. Today, we bake!

Croissants, Smoothies, Poached Fruits

It was a slightly more relaxed class as well; the smoothies only needed blending and the poached fruits, well, poaching. For some reason, I'm usually less frantic when there isn't as many products that need to go into the oven.

My Plated Finish

First attempt at a simple and elegant plating, I think I did a rather good job. :)

Plain, Chocolate Croissants

You just can't beat croissants made with real butter; it's lighter, flakier, richer and tastier and simply so much more satisfying.

Sun Hee and I entered into another trading agreement even before the start of class: my chocolate croissants for her almond, a great partnership we make.

Sultana, Almond Croissants

Friday, August 27, 2010

Brioche Parisienne, Nanterre, Tressee, A Tete

Chef's Roll Call

A brioche is a rich, sweet dough, made by adding 4 truckloads of butter, 3 buses full of full fat milk, 20 dozens eggs and a tub of sugar to lean, or simple bread, dough. Perfect for a light and healthy breakfast. 

Donuts, Nanterre

If that's not enticing enough to the habitual dieter, why not deep fry the brioche in a potful of hot fat and make heavenly donuts out of them? 

Shaped into different forms they are a great hit with the kids too. Filled with homemade hazelnut paste and chocolate ganache, they transform into the perfect dessert to round off your donut dinner with. 


For the traditionalist, simply roll out 2 balls of dough, stick 1 atop the other and bake plain. Serve with cold butter slices and raspberry jam, the perfect high tea delight.

The great Haul

There's something about working with dough that I thoroughly enjoy, as you can tell from the massive amount of products I got from the 1 simple recipe.

The big ball on the top right is a snail, made with rolls of brioche dough wrapped around so much hazelnut paste and chocolate ganache I thought it was gonna explode in the oven. 

Tressee & The Lot

What Lies Beneath

Donuts For Sun Hee

Coz I'm no fan of donuts and she loves them waaayyy more than I do. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sandwiches, Rolls, Mayonnaise, Crusty Rolls

Chef's Open Faced Sandwiches
Pate, Smoked Salmon & Prawns, Pickled Herring

Hands up if you're thinking what we were all thinking: A class on sandwiches? In Le Cordon Bleu?? With the cut throat prices I pay to study here???

Apparently there has been a worrying trend of people commit catastrophic no-no's such as serving chicken sandwiches with tartar sauce *Gasps! The horror!* hence the class dedicated to re-educating us on some common sense of the humble cut lunch.

Customary whinging aside, I had a ball today coz I got to (1) take a break from the mad dash rush of baking something from scratch - simply toss a handful of ingredients together and viola! Sandwich filling! (2) use expensive ingredients for a change - fish and meat rather than flour and sugar (3) make mayonnaise - something I've always wanted to try, and (4) use the rolls I made with my bare hands. Such pride!

Roast Beef & Horseradish, Chicken & Celery

I've never feasted better after a demo, thoroughly enjoying the smoked salmon, rare roast beef and most of all, the picked herring. I managed to stuff an entire mop of the vinegary fish into my mouth and was in IKEA heaven.  

My Plate For Marking

I made an open faced prawn and cream cheese sandwich (which I later barter traded Sun Hee with for a salmon one), tuna and cucumber roulade, chicken salad and roast beef rolls, and ham and cheese fingers and triangles. Am rather proud of my work today. :D

Tri-Colored Tuna Roulade

Sun Hee's Salmon Heaven

Chef's Crusty Rolls

We gave the rolls a miss in the previous class and made them only today. I didn't mind the repeat, as it meant learning from my previous mistakes and doing a better job of it today.

Light Rolls

Check It Out!

I also learnt from the previous batch that sesame seeds smells and taste absolutely mind blowing when toasted, so do herbs, and larger loaves are much easier to slice, toast and devour. Check out my 5 plait loaf man.

Light & Airy

The result of a light and loving touch. ;)

The Nose Knows

Friday, August 20, 2010

Basic White Bread, Soft Rolls

Chef's Rolls

There's something to be said about bread. If pastry is an exact science, bread making - straight forward as it may seem, is precise chemistry at work, affected not only by the how but also the where. Being a novice, I'm in no position to lecture, instead I'll refer you to the great Peter Reinhart if the world of bread fascinates you as much as it does me.

I do love making bread: feeding and fermenting the yeast, developing its subtle flavors, kneading and shaping the dough, I feel it living and breathing in my hands, a simple yet complex product, so you can imagine my joy at this week's bread making classes. 

In The Raw

Roast Beef For The Morrow

Sweet Rolls

Pressed for time, we sped up the process by adding a bread improver, which compromised the flavors that could have been better achieved if we left the yeast to ferment slowly and naturally over a few hours or better yet, a couple of days. 

Basic White Rolls

Shaping the rolls and larger loaves was fun, and topping them with seeds helped the patterns stand out. Some will be kept for tomorrow's sandwiches. The rest will be sliced, lightly toasted, slathered on with butter and savoured. To simple pleasures.

4 Plait Loaf

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Baked Cheesecake

Chef's Cheesecakes

Cheesecakes are every family's favourite, and a piece of cake to make - pun intended. Given a choice I'd pick the baked version over chilled anytime. Sure it may not be as healthy, but the denser and richer result is so so so worth the torturous workout after to burn it off.  

Marble Cheesecake

We made a biscuit and melted butter base, and full fat cream cheese filling. And if that's not decadent enough for ya, whipped cream and chocolate to top it all off. Come to Mama!

I'll Take Them Big & Small

If you look closely you'll see the cake on the top left made with a layer of dark chocolate cheese at the bottom and a bright lemon cheese atop. Blueberries add a simple and elegant touch, the chocolate a welcome excess. The tiny ones, what can I say but cu~~ute!

Beautiful Layers


While waiting for our cheesecakes to bake we practiced making filigree (piped decoration) and I gotta say, I'm getting the hang of this. :)

Sweet Treats